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32                                 LIFE   OF
With overflowing joy Alexander communicated the
near fulfilment of his long-cherished plans and wishes
to his elder brother at Paris, and his descriptions of
Spain, which were painted in the most glowing colours
by the animated pleasxire he felt, persuaded William
von Humboldt to a journey there.    Alexander must
liave described the beautiful Spain to his brother so
attractively already in February, when he was still on
Ms  way to Madrid,  for Frau von Humboldt wrote
horae at that time that her husband intended to go
alone to Madrid., perhaps even to Lisbon, at the end
of March, while she would remain in the Pyrenees
with  the children.    The subsequent   descriptions of
Alexander, on his way from Madrid to Gorunna, could
not have been less  attractive and less   inducive to
"William's  determination, for his journey took  him
past the beautiful mountain ridges and rocks of Gal-
licia, and the  granite peaks of Oorunna,  where he
made their formation a subject of interesting  inqui-
ries, and planned a pleasing picture of the breaches
made by the sea, which must have violently separated
these mountains which, millenniums ago, were united
ridges   and   precipitous   rocks.     These   descriptions,
•written in the charming style of an Alexander von
Humboldt, were probably the cause that the modest
plan mentioned by Madame von Humboldt in her
letter was  extended by her husband, and that the
whole family commenced^their pilgrimage to Spain in
July.*
Alexander arrived in Conmna with his companion;
but here another hindrance threatened to prevent
their departure. The English had blockaded the
* William von Humboldt also "wrote fe Notes" on this trip, which
clearly show the intellectual intimacy existing between the brothers.
As Alexander everywhere,, on Ms scientific journeys, turns his ob-
servation comprehensively to ethnographical, philological, historical,
and philosophic subjects, which were properly William's sphere ; so
William, whose subjects were more the ideal and mental develop-
ments of life, has also given splendid descriptions of inanimate
nature and of the world of reality. Both brothers show, in theao
conceptions, their common intellectual Origin and education.